Saturday, May 31, 2008
The revisions are most likely to involve as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations in New York governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses. This appears to be the first step in the legalization of same-sex unions in the state of New York. Currently, Massachusetts and California are the only states that have legalized gay marriage, while New Jersey and Vermont allow civil unions. Forty-one states have laws limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
Read the entire New York Times article on same-sex unions here.
plez sez: i sincerely believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law. without benefit of a binding contract, gay couples do not have the same benefits as married couples (taxes, estates, insurance, etc.) in most states.
plezWorld was raised in a strict baptist household, went to church every sunday. to my way of thinking, marriage is a construct of religion. marriage was created to foster the stability of a household and build the continuity of a community. marriage was created for the purpose of procreation (i.e. having and raising children according to the norms of the community).
gay marriage doesn't seem to fit the construct that benefits the continuity of the norms of the community. my daughter has a school chum who had two mommies. those two mommies broke up and each has a new partner. now my daughter's friend has four mommies! parent-teacher conferences must be a real bee-yotch! i'm afraid that doesn't fit well with any social norm that comes to mind.
i think there is a simple solution to this conundrum: reserve marriage to a ceremony that is performed in a church and allow the state to sanction a civil union that can be recognized as a contract between two people for legal reasons. this way, the church can maintain the sanctity of marriage and the state can provide equal rights to those who religious beliefs don't fit into the constructs of a marriage (between a man and a woman). currently, you have to fulfill a number of requirements before you can get a state issued license to get married. why not make a slight change to that license to include any civil union between two people and then reserve the church sanctioned marriage to those who would rather preserve the religious recognition of their union?
my solution probably opens up another "can of worms" that hasn't even been considered, but i will leave that up to the reader to ferret out and set me straight!
Friday, May 30, 2008
plez sez: Just in time for the November elections. We'll be nice and desensitized to paying over $3.00 per gallon, and this will be a non-issue. Frankly, I've already forgotten what it's like to have gasoline for under $2.00 per gallon (and that was just 12 months ago)!
You can read the entite blog post here.
two years ago, i longed for the days of $2.00 gasoline. now plezWorld is paying double that per gallon and spending more than $80 to fill up the ole' Eddie Bauer. i like the get-up-and-go of a 5.0 liter V-8 engine, but it doesn't make much sense to drive around in something that literally guzzles gas. i am planning on getting a new car in a few years, but that cold-blooded Cadillac Escalade is not looking like a wise investment... even though, i could probably get a good price on one!
when is the escalating gas prices going to end? will the price ever go down to under $3 a gallon?
Thursday, May 29, 2008
- Scott McClellan, former Bush press secretary recounting the deception surrounding the leaking of the identity of a C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson
Read the entire New York Times article about McClellan's outrageous claims about the Bush Administration's ineptitude here.
plez sez: little scotty mcclellan spent hung around the bush administration for five years (three of them as the press secretary), listening to lies and coverups and half-truths and the betrayal of the trust of the american people... and now he wants to peddle a book about it! i'm not sure who is worse, mcclellan or the scum (like cheney, libby, rove, rice, and bush) that he writes about.
i guess that one can expect that the bush-wackers (backers) would bring full throttle defense of the indefensible bush administration: rove, bartlett, et. al. but i wonder why this guy hung around as long as he did, seemingly cow-towing and agreeing with all of the *ISH* that was going on, until his arse was FIRED!
plezWorld is no fan of bush and the bushettes, but this drivel (which incidentally is a day late and a dollar short) smacks of sour grapes. nothing new is revealed, we've known the lies about the war in iraq for four or five years now! scooter libby took the fall for the valerie wilson mess. george bush still looks like an idiot for flying over the katrina disaster. so what's new?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
John McWhorter, left, of the Manhattan Institute and Glenn Loury of Brown University discuss the issue of race for Barack Obama:
John H. McWhorter, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes and comments extensively on race, ethnicity and cultural issues for the Institute's Center for Race and Ethnicity. He also writes a regular column in the New York Sun. McWhorter's new book, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (Gotham Books) was released in early 2006 and has already generated widespread acclaim. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Non-Fiction and has appeared numerous national TV and radio shows, such as Meet the Press, John McLaughlin's One on One, the O'Reilly Factor and NPR's Fresh Air. McWhorter is also a well-known and widely published linguistics scholar.
Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has taught previously at Boston, Harvard and Northwestern Universities, and the University of Michigan. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics (Northwestern University) and a Ph.D. in Economics (MIT). In addition to this scholarly work, Professor Loury is also a prominent social critic and public intellectual. His over 200 essays and reviews on racial inequality and social policy have appeared in dozens of influential journals of public affairs in the U.S. and abroad. He is a frequent commentator on national radio and television, a much soughtafter public speaker, and an advisor on social issues to business and political leaders throughout the country. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was for many years a contributing editor at The New Republic, and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of The American Interest.
View the entire Bloggingheads.tv episode here.
plez sez: i find it a delight to listen to two academics debate and intelligently discuss issues that affect us today. i can't think of two better Bloggingheads than John McWhorter and Glenn Loury to discuss the issue of race and racism in politics.
i deplore calling anyone a racist (don't get me wrong, there are racist people), because we all see race... and we've all formed our own prejudices and preferences for the types of people we choose to deal with. i'm no more a racist for choosing to live in a very nice predominantly Black neighborhood, anymore than the white person who chooses to live in a neighborhood populated by mainly white folk.
plezWorld agrees with McWhorter about the good folk in west virginia and indiana who came out in droves for hillary clinton, they weren't racists, but they were voting race... just like the droves of Black folk who supported Barack Obama down here in georgia and south carolina!
i just found this to be a particularly enlightening Bloggingheads episode. i invite you to check out other episodes with McWhorter and Loury.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The NASA Phoenix Mars Lander touched down on Mars's surface just after 8:00 PM EST on Sunday evening after a 9 month journey. It appears to be working as planned and has sent back a few pictures.
Read the New York Times article on the Phoenix Mars landing here.
plez sez: i propose that we get the heck out of iraq and spend some of that wasted money on sending a man to mars!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Senator Webb, a Virginia Democrat, has been the guiding force behind this legislation, which has been dubbed the new G.I. bill. The measure is decidedly bipartisan. Mr. Webb’s principal co-sponsors include Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia, and Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. (All four senators are veterans of wartime service — Senators Webb and Hagel in Vietnam, Warner in World War II and Korea and Lautenberg in World War II.)
Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on board, as are Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.
Senator John McCain offered objections to Webb-Hagel and withheld his support. McCain and Pentagon officials believe that Webb-Hagel would hurt the services by enticing service members to reject reenlistment in favor of college and civilian life. McCain has introduced his own bill to counter Webb-Hagel.
The main difference, in the McCain bill is the provision to allow service members to transfer the benefits to family members, up to half after 6 years of service and all after 12 years. Echoing the Pentagon’s arguments, they said that would encourage more service members, especially noncommissioned officers, to make the military a career. Webb-Hagel starts benefits after two years of enlistment.
Today, the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan service of Congress, reported that Webb-Hagel offers more hard benefits to the military than expected. The CBO concluded that departures from the service (around 16 percent) would be more than offset by recruitment gains (over 16 percent).
Sen. Webb’s proposal, first introduced last year, would increase the monthly benefit to the maximum tuition at a public university in each state. On average, the tuition assistance would amount to $1,700 a month. It would also pay up to $1,000 a year for fees and books and provide a housing stipend. Like the current G.I. Bill, it would apply to anyone who served at least three years.
At a cost of $52 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposal is widely seen as generous, which the Pentagon says is exactly the problem. In a letter to the Senate in April, Mr. Gates warned that “serious retention issues could arise,” adding that “significant benefit increases need to be focused on those willing to commit to longer periods of service.”
The McCain bill is also generous, increasing the monthly tuition benefit to $1,500, or roughly the average cost of public university tuition; it would rise to $2,000 for those who serve for 12 years. After new amendments, some as recent as Wednesday, their legislation would also include $1,000 a year for books and fees. The overall cost would be $38 billion over 10 years, financed by an across-the-board cut of a half percent in discretionary spending.
Read the New York Times article and op-ed piece on the Webb-Hagel G.I. Bill here and here.
plez sez: how can the united states be too generous to the people who risk their lives during wartime in military service for this country? yeah, john mccain said the webb-hagel bill was too generous and would discourage those who would otherwise choose the military as a career.
the opposition to this bill continues to tie john mccain to george w. bush's coattails! with his opposition to such legislation and his delay of introducing his own bill (5 years into the iraq war) signals a continuation of the current administration's failed policies (domestic and foreign). this was john mccain's opportunity to break free of w's hold on his short hairs and run as a progressive republican, but i'm afraid, he's just an older model of the same *ISH* we've been subjected to for the past seven and a half years!
Barack Obama was correct to call mccain out on his failure to support this bill (which will win with a veto-proof majority)! the fear of folk leaving the military is pure lunacy, when one weighs that against the increased number of people who will enlist to take advantage of the benefits. DUH! and the cost of $56 billion over 10 years is a bargain when compared to the $12 billion annually we're spending on this illegal was in iraq.
plezWorld attended college on a full academic scholarship, but it would've been nice to have a revamped G.I. bill to fall back on if that wasn't available.
...and speaking of MEMORIAL DAY... it would've been a cool gesture if our commander-in-chief would've used today to sign the Webb-Hagel Bill into law. we've had too many young men and women valiantly lose their lives for george w. bush's cause in iraq... the least he could do to honor their memory is to provide the financial assistance to aid those who financial situation finds them having to serve their country for such an ignoble cause!
take a moment to honor the memory of those who have served and gave their lives in military service to our country.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Read more about Baby King in the AJC article here.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Clinton's reply follows:
“People have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa... my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it."
As would be expected, her comments set off a barrage of criticism in response to her invoking Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968, and within hours, she expressed regrets at a campaign stop:
“The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy. And I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.”
Read the New York Times article on Clinton's assassination gaffe here.
plez sez: hmmmm... i guess she isn't holding out for an invitation to be Barack Obama's veep... sounds to me, like she's betting on an assassin's bullet to secure her the nomination!
is it me OR is hillary clinton out of her freakin' mind?!? two weeks from today marks the 40th anniversary of bobby kennedy's assassination by a bullet fired by sirhan sirhan! although, there has been little publicity about death threats, it is obvious that Obama has been the recipient of credible threats since he announced his candidacy; he's had around the clock secret service protection for close to a year! i don't like to bring up such a grim prospect, but this blog published a post that white supremacist groups have been organizing to prevent Obama from ever taking the oath of office.
how can hillary be so crass? so unfeeling? so politically incorrect?!? when backed into a corner, she will say ANYTHING... and i mean ANYTHING to justify her claim to the white house!
and when she realizes how off base her comments were, she can't even muster the fortitude to properly apologize. she doesn't apologize to the kennedy family (she only expresses regret for her offensive remarks). she doesn't apologize to Barack Obama and his family for the implication that she's pinning her hopes of being the democratic nominee while dancing on Obama's grave prior the democratic national convention! if it was good enough for hubert humphrey in 1968, it's good enough for hillary clinton in 2008.
assassination of national figures is the ugliest of american history: lincoln, mckinley, harrison, kennedy, martin luther king, jr., robert kennedy, etc. a Black man is poised to ascend to the highest office in the land and hillary clinton doesn't want to get out of the race because the specter of him getting gunned down before the convention is too great!
some have decided to give her the benefit of the doubt... that could not be what she was thinking when she brought up kennedy's assassination. plezWorld is not so easily dissuaded and asks, if she wasn't implying that there is a good chance that Obama will get assassinated, what was she implying? and why did she bring it up?
some have called for Obama to offer the veep office to billary. how many weeks would it take for the clintons to plot his assassination? maybe i've watched too many seasons of "24", but something tells me that the clintons couldn't stomach being Obama's second banana for 8 years! something tells me that they couldn't stomach being his second banana more than a couple of weeks!
Friday, May 23, 2008
...have you seen these clips repeated over and over on the nightly news, lately?
A few Rod Parsley quotes:
"Islam is an anti-Christ religion..."
"America was founded - in part - with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed."
"Muhammad received revelations from demon spirits, not from the living God."
"When it comes to Islam, the greatest religious enemy of our civilization in the world, it's dangerous."
Read more about John McCain's spiritual guide in Mother Jones.
plez sez: hmmmm... i wonder how many times this wack-job's comments will get looped on fox news network?!?
ole johnny came out today to reject the endorsement of rev. john hagee after he said that hitler was sent by god to hasten the jews return to israel. mind you, this was an endorsement that sen. mccain had sought out to shore up the religious right vote. and in an obvious swipe at Barack Obama, mccain says that at least he didn't attend hagee's church for the past 20 years! soon there after, rev. hagee rescinded his endorsement of mccain... some would call that a draw!
now, it appears that sen. mccain enjoys being in the company of religious zealots! this rod parsley guy is an unabashed islam basher! and some of his comments rank up there as ridiculous: i'd like to see one instance where the framers of the constitution even mention islam during the founding of the united states.
plezWorld is of the opinion that mccain will repudiate this guy in a few days. he should do it over the memorial day weekend... that tends to be a slow news period!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
A Roswell, Georgia newspaper is defending a controversial cover illustration that placed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in a rifle's cross hairs. The Roswell Beacon is a free weekly rag that has a distribution of about 65,000 in the city of Roswell, which is just north of Atlanta, Georgia. The controversial front cover was published on May 15, 2008.
The associated article states that north Georgia is the home to some serious racists, and whether we like it or not, Obama's candidacy has brought out the worst in a lot of people. Some have questioned whether there is a need for a newspaper to suggest assassination with such an incendiary cover such as this.
The paper's publisher, John Fredericks is quoted as saying, "Good, bad, or ugly, we tell the truth." The cover was approved with little debate about it being appropriate, though they were aware that it would likely cause a buzz in the community.
The cover's article was pitched and reported by veteran freelance journalist Alan Sverdlik, who said he was curious how law enforcement agencies were handling the increased number of threats lodged against Sen. Obama by white supremacist groups, some of whom are based around north Fulton. Sverdlik said Tuesday he had not seen the cover and had no input in its development.
A number of bloggers have written articles calling the Roswell Beacon to task for publishing such an incendiary cover.
Read the entire AJC article about the Obama cover picture here.
The Roswell Beacon article is a chilling and quite disturbing expose' that takes place just north of Atlanta; one of the subjects openly discusses the assassination of Obama and the beginning of a race war if he is elected President.
Read the actual article from the Roswell Beacon here and it is also re-posted on the Reporter-Cub blog.
plez sez: roswell, georgia is home to the whites who fled the city of atlanta to the south. north atlanta (and north fulton county) is probably the reddest part of red state georgia. the right leaning roswell beacon features syndicated columns from ultra-conservative michelle malkin, it is a free rag that panders to its constituency: a large community of right wing borderline racists! they see nothing wrong with giving comfort to those who would kill a Black man who would be so bold as to aspire to the presidency of the united states.
it is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country when a presidential candidate (more than likely, the presumptive nominee and quite likely the next president) is given the cover of even a fish wrapping rag in the crosshairs of a rifle! if the man who is singularly responsible for the wrongful death of over 4,000 americans in iraq isn't worthy of this publisher's ire (for those who are kind of slow, i'm talking about george w. bush), i can only wonder what Barack Obama has done (other than being born with brown skin) to endear such an honor? and my gut instinct tells me that the color of his skin has everything to do with it and concerns about his safety have very little to do with it.
the cover art is no longer accessible on the beacon's website. but i intend to let my feelings known by sending them more e-mail. a local holiday inn has already pulled support from the rag based on the backlash over the cover.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Read the entire AJC article on the lack of Black bloggers invited to the DNC here.
Read the article from the Afrosphere Action Coalition concerning a resolution to this issue here.
plez sez: i'm not that crazy about using the race card or calling anyone a racist (as many of the commenters have chosen to do in the AJC article). this appears to be more of an oversight and an insensitivity issue with respect to the wide collection of voters who have a vested interest in the democratic national convention in denver.
the presumptive democratic nominee is Barack Obama... a Black guy. the state of Georgia where more than half of the democratic voters are Black, has a couple of white bloggers going to denver for the democratic national convention. after scanning all invited bloggers, it doesn't appear that any of them are Black! the blogosphere is littered with political commentary about the democratic race by Black bloggers, yet none were worthy of credentials to the dnc?
plezWorld doesn't advocate the removal of credentials for existing bloggers, it would be senseless to punish those who benefitted from the jacked up system. there is an easy fix, open up additional credentials for minority bloggers (not just Black ones), ensure there is a representative assembly of bloggers present for the convention.
- Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) in response to Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) assertion that Obama's judgement is "reckless" and he lacks the experience to be president for wanting to meet with our enemies.
Read the entire CNN article about their flap here.
plez sez: for the past fifty years, the US has looked with disdain at the small tropical island that sits a mere 90 miles off the coast of florida, cuba. fidel castro has grown old and feeble, while the us has gone through nine presidents, the vietnam war, the cold war with the soviet union, the thaw of relations with china, the reconstruction of europe, landing on the moon, and global warming. yet they continue to sit there off the coast of florida, as benign as the day that the island bubbled up in the caribbean.
all those presidents, all those nuclear weapons, all that high priced intelligence, all those billion dollar warships and stealth fighters, all of our money, and the collapse of the soviet union... and they still sit there without a word from the us! fidel is still drawing breath, long after the assassinations of the Kennedy's and Martin Luther King, Jr. he's still there after the death of anwar sadat in egypt, the overthrow of the shah of iran, the fall of the berlin wall, the war in bosnia, the opening of vietnam, the capture of manuel noriega in panama, the loss of the panama canal, the crack epidemic, the death of benazir butto in pakistan, and the hanging of saddam hussein in iraq. the only world leader who has been in power since fidel castro's unlikely ascension in cuba is the queen of england!
mccain says that Obama is naive for suggesting that we talk with fidel's little brother (raul), since he has taken the reins of the country. plezWorld is thinking, "what harm can it do?" cuba is an island, literally and figuratively. the cuban missle crisis was handled with diplomacy over 45 years ago! what can be gained by NOT speaking with them now? what benefit is derived for the large cuban community in south florida that cannot communicate with their relatives?
mccain (as an extension of george w. bush) represents an old, dysfunctional, and failed foreign policy. mccain would do well to highlight areas where he differs from bush, not reinforce what most americans already assume: a mccain presidency will be a continuation of the bush foreign policy debacle. a foreign policy that brought al qaeda and the suicide bombers to the us on september 11, 2001, the foreign policy that cannot find osama bin laden, and the foreign policy that launched an illegal war against the sovereign state of iraq (i still don't understand why he has not been impeached)!
it's time to have a president with the stones to chart a new path, try new strategies, and change our global image. it is time to have a president with a strength of conviction to do what is right, rather than what has always been done. change is difficult and i expect mistakes will be made. but after eight years of blunders by some of the most experienced washington insiders (cheney, powell, rice, rumsfeld, et. al.), i plan to cast my lot with the new guy: Barack Obama.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sen. Hillary Clinton was last seen vigorously campaigning in Kentucky in an attempt to shore up her sizable lead in the polls, while Obama spent the last couple of days on the west coast making sure he maintained his lead in Oregon. It is pretty much understood that the with Obama taking Oregon and Clinton taking Kentucky, and since both states have close to the same number of delegates in play, the result will be a wash. Clinton will not make much of a dent in Obama's sizable lead. And with a majority of the available pledged delegates, it will take a bold act of the superdelegates to award Clinton the Democratic nomination.
Read the entire New York Times article here.
plez sez: it is all but certain that hillary clinton is going to stay in the race until the bitter end. with only a handful of primaries remaining (4 or 5 left), Obama nursing a majority of the pledged delegates, and Obama holding on to a majority of the superdelegates who've pledged their support, it is highly unlikely that clinton will be able to pull off the nomination without dropping a powder keg on the convention floor!
i can see her making a strong case for getting the number two position on the ticket, but she could've made that argument weeks ago... and really reduced the amount of rancor and bitterness that has bubbled up between the supporters of the two campaigns. every news service is running stories on gender bias and racism in this campaign: the TWO SUBJECTS that these two candidates should've been trying to avoid! for some reason, clinton's allies waited too late into the contest to play the "race card" and then they did such a poor job of it.
i don't see Obama offering her much more than a pat on the back, that's probably why he is treating her campaign with kid gloves, so when all the votes are counted and she's been kicked to the curb, he can smoothly transition to campaigning against mccain full-time. if he lets her fade from the campaign without ruffling her feathers, he should be able to count on her (and bill's) support in the fall campaign.
unfortunately, i don't see billary backing away from a return to washington that easily... they are probably going to make a STRONG CASE for her being on the ticket, whether Obama likes it or not! and if he doesn't offer her the veep role, i can see billary pulling their support (along with their PWT constituents who they just recently aligned themselves with) and handing the win in november to mccain... if mccain wins, billary will be back with an "i told you so" campaign in 2012!
Monday, May 19, 2008
plez sez: she played it even better at the actual recital!
Friday, May 16, 2008
Huh? Say what? plezWorld is aghast and appalled that our next president would be so flippant with a pain-in-the-ass reporter. HA HA HA!
Come on, get a life! Some have wrongly compared this utterance to Sen. George Allen's "macaca moment" that sank his re-election bid two years ago (here, here, and here). Although, glib and a bit condescending, what Obama's words lack are the racist and xenophobic venom that dripped from Allen's lips.
Obama shouldn't make it a habit to go around brushing off reporters and common folk, I think we get enough that from our current president. But this incident goes nowhere near the gold standard of inappropriate language that sunk George Allen's ship!
And it is important to note that Obama did call the WXYZ reporter and apologized on her voicemail:
"Hi Peggy. This is Barack Obama. I'm calling to apologize on two fronts. One was you didn't get your question answered and I apologize. I thought that we had set up interviews with all the local stations. I guess we got it with your station but you weren't the reporter that got the interview. And so, I broke my word. I apologize for that and I will make up for it. Second apology is for using the word 'sweetie.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next."
plez sez: you gotta love us politics!
i read a comment where it was stated that this is the same as hillary clinton saying, "hold on there, boy" to a Black reporter! hmmmm, i think not!
i guess i would be genuinely concerned if the reporter had been a man! *smile*
Thursday, May 15, 2008
In April 2007, plezWorld wrote: "...the AfroSpear is the realization of a think tank of Black (African-American) progressives to discuss, muse, and ruminate issues that affect our communities. Inasmuch, we are not a monolithic entity, the AfroSpear will encourage lively debate, discourse, and an occasional disagreement as we hone a thought or platform on a particular issue. With the power of the current bloggers on the AfroSpear list, I'm encouraged that positive and actionable results will become self-evident."
On yesterday, plezWorld added the 150th member to the AfroSpear Blog Roll (yeah, i'm the blog roll administrator). I joined this little group alittle over one year ago with about two dozen other Black bloggers from around the world. since that time, the membership has grown by leaps and bounds; and we may finally be suffering from growing pains. With power comes responsibility to use it wisely. The AfroSpear has become such a daunting force in the blogosphere that we have had to institute stringent rules for membership and a number of Black bloggers have been turned away. AfroSpear authors are being booked on television and radio shows, the bloggers have found their way into a number of articles of top newspapers around the country, and some members are finding celebrity and a great following for their blogs.
It is my hope that this very important milestone gives the collective AfroSpear membership a reason to pause and consciously deliberate on how we will continue to grow within this vast medium.
I remain optimistic about the future of the AfroSpear!
The AfroSpear BlogRoll
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
An article in The New York Times asks the question, "why would menthol cigarettes be exempt from the ban?" It is the most widely used flavor and is the cigarette of choice for most Blacks in America who smoke. And get this: Black men die from lung cancer at a rate 50 percent higher than white men.
According to the article, menthol cigarettes are "politically off limits" because their sales make up twenty-five percent of the $70 billion cigarette industry in the US. In addition, Philip Morris USA, the industry leader, which is lobbying in support for the legislation, has come to rely on the sale of menthol cigarettes in the Black community and they will not support the bill with a ban on menthol. Since Congress wants to the FDA to get a foothold into the tobacco industry, they would rather leave menthol alone rather than risk the bill's passing.
The controversy over menthol stems from the fact that close to seventy-five percent of all Black smokers use menthol brands... you know them well: Kool, Salem, and Newport billboards litter the landscape of every Black community in the US! If you've never seen a billboard or a bus stop advertisement for any of these brands, then you've never been in a Black community.
Only twenty-five percent of white smokers use menthol cigarettes.
In 1998, the C.D.C. released a report that suggested that menthol "may increase the absorption of harmful smoking constituents." But subsequent studies have proven to be inconclusive about those claims. Some even suggest that the use of menthol cigarettes makes them more addictive and more difficult to quit... once again, there are no studies to support that contention.
Read the 1998 CDC Report on cigarettes in the Black community here.
Read the New York Times article about menthol cigarettes here.
plez sez: everyone who is surprised by this article, raise your hands!
once again, the Black community gets the opportunity to be pillaged and ravaged for corporate profits. a known carcinogen that has more adverse effects on the Black community is permitted to be marketed and sold within the Black community. if strawberry-flavored cigarettes are so dangerous and need regulation, then why are menthol-flavored cigarettes nebulous just because they are the nicotine-delivery method of choice in the Black community? is there no concern that Black children will continue to get hooked on these things while every other community in the nation is free from a similar temptation?
my father smoked socially - when with other men were smoking or when he was driving long distances. he grew up a sharecropper's son, harvesting tobacco in those dingy north carolina fields of his youth. no doubt, he adopted the habit at an early age. my siblings and i were discouraged from smoking cigarettes, drinking liquor (i obviously missed that lecture), and taking dope! i know plenty of people who adopted the nasty habit of smoking at an early age, including my oldest brother who died of cancer four years ago.
damn those Kools and Newport Menthol 100's!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Unfortunately, Obama's delegate lead appears to insurmountable and it is doubtful that she will be able to catch him even if she wins the remaining primaries (which is unlikely). West Virginia had just 28 delegates at stake, and those will be awarded proportionately, so this win will not cut into his lead by much.
But she will celebrate the win anyway.
plez sez: ok, hillary, take a victory lap. a month ago, these paltry delegate-weak states didn't matter to her... now they are the mother's milk to her waning nomination bid. superdelegates are falling over themselves to endorse Barack Obama, who took the superdelegate lead over the weekend.
at this point, she is running for a spot in Obama's administration... is her case compelling enough for a nod as his vice president? or is there too much baggage for her to carry to blair house? would bill behave back in washington?
i'd hate to be in Obama's shoes right now, because what to do with hillary clinton will be the biggest decision of his candidacy. it may even determine if he will win his bid to win the big seat in the white house!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Joshua Packwood is graduating from Morehouse with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in economics. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has already landed a plum job with Goldman Sachs in New York City. Joshua is a native of Kansas City, MO and was highly recruited out of high school. He picked Morehouse because of its reputation as one of the top HBCUs in the United States. He will be the first white valedictorian in the school's 141-year history.
Read the AJC article about Joshua Packwood here.
plez sez: several of my good friends and fraternity brothers (my fraternity's oldest chapter (pi) in the deep south is located at morehouse) are graduates of morehouse college. if i would have gone to an hbcu out of high school, morehouse would have been at the top of the list. at times, i regret that i didn't get to enjoy the "black experience" at a school such as morehouse.
i have written a few posts about the state of education in the black community and have touched on my thoughts about hbcus in general. save a precious few (morehouse, spelman, hampton, howard, etc.), a good number have outlived their usefulness as institutions of higher learning for an exclusive Black population. last year there was a report about problems at clark atlanta university: read my response here (...and i admit that all of their professors are not overpaid!).
a shining example of what is right can be found on the campus of morehouse college... and this year's valedictorian is just that! by diversifying their enrollment and actively pursuing non-Black students to their campuses, the hbcu can find relevance and renewed prowess in the pantheon of all colleges and universities. joshua's presence can only help raise the awareness of what a top notch school morehouse has become, his presence may not have the same effect at a school that struggles to matriculate quality students. i have no worry that even with more non-Black students, morehouse will continue it rich tradition of being a flagship hbcu.
kudos to morehouse colllege and to joshua packwood.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Since plezWife is the ROCK upon which the SugarPlum and I stand, it is only fitting that we honor her on an annual basis with something that is truly fitting our Queen. This year's marvel is one of those cold-blooded Blackberry Curves that you see on television... it is red, sleek, has all the latest bells & whistles (except a video camera), and it was just what she wanted!
Happy Mother's Day to all the MOTHERS out there in plezWorld, and especially to plezWife!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Instead of encouraging folk to spend their money paying down personal debt and maxed out credit cards, retailers around the country are falling over each other to get you to stimulate their economy! The New York Times reports that Sears has started a “stretch your stimulus check” campaign, Supervalu, the grocery chain, is promoting a “watch your refund grow” program, and Kroger is calling its stimulus gift cards “a powerful new financial tool.” All three companies offer shoppers a 10 percent bonus if they buy a gift card with their checks. Domino’s Pizza is also offering a “recession-busting” special of three pizzas for $12. “While you’re feeding the economy with your special refund check, let it feed you back,” the company said in a news release promoting the offer. Home Depot is encouraging customers to buy energy-efficient products, like compact fluorescent bulbs, to save money.
One has to wonder how much the economy will be stimulated if everyone spends their entire check with only one retailer? If Sears or Kroger is tying up all of your money, then you cannot use it to pay off or pay down a credit card, you won't put a portion in savings, etc.
Some stores are putting together their programs so that it doesn't appear that the average consumer will have to spend their check at one location: Wal-Mart and RadioShack are offering to cash checks, a program aimed at customers who have no bank accounts. Wal-Mart’s check-cashing service is free. RadioShack’s requires a purchase, and the unspent balance of the check goes onto a prepaid MasterCard that can be used elsewhere. And Kroger is allowing any consumer to buy its gift card, both to avoid the bother of tracking stimulus-check receipts, since a sizable number of consumers will receive their check via direct deposit into a checking account, and to appeal to affluent consumers who earn too much money to receive any checks.
Read the entire New York Times article about retailers push for your economic stimulus check here.
plez sez: stimulus check? what stinkin' stimulus check?!? plezWorld ain't getting any check... it doesn't feel like it, but the government considers that my particular economy doesn't need any additional stimulation. if they knew that my gas guzzling SUV now requires a small loan to fill it up with premium gasoline flirting with $4 a gallon these days. and who knew my company would decide to downsize me during an economic downturn, but after i'd already made too much money to get a check! can i get a mulligan?!?
well, the subject of this post is "What Would plezWorld Do"? so i guess i better stop bitchin' about not getting a check and let you know what i would do if $600 just showed up in my checking account tomorrow. for fun and kicks, let's also assume that plezWife didn't also make too much money to get a check and we were eligible to get a $300 check for the SugarPlum, that would be about 1,500 clams to freely spend. i guess we'd also have to assume that i don't have a stack of credit cards with over $5,000 on them that needs paying down. so what would plezWorld do? well, my wife has an eye on this cold-blooded Gucci tote for mother's day, i think the price on that thing is around $1,500! i guess we could put $1,000 in the SugarPlum's delinquent college fund or just slide it into the savings account and let it grow some interest. then again, my SUV could use some new tires: four tires at $350 each would leave enough money for dinner at McDonald's!
i guess my initial assertion (read them here and here) that by stimulating the economy with a one percent welfare check wouldn't do much to jumpstart this feeble economy without addressing the root cause of the problem: a weak ass dollar, the credit crunch, the on-going mortgage mess, loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas companies, loss of high tech jobs to overseas companies, trade imbalance, NAFTA, $125 a barrel oil, inflation, and the tax burden placed on the middle class. so when this economic stimulus package doesn't work, don't blame plezWorld because he didn't even get one of those stinkin' checks!
but i'm not "bitter."
Friday, May 09, 2008
Read the entire New York Times article on superdelegate counts here.
plez sez: at this point, clinton is either jockeying for the VP position or just wants a prominent position at the Democratic convention. with primaries left in only six states, she won't even be able to boast a lead in the popular vote (not that it matters) without throwing in the bogus numbers from michigan and florida primaries which don't count!
but hold your hats, ladies and gents, with those michigan and florida delegates still in flux, one can never know what tricks ol' Billary may have up their collective sleeves come time for the convention.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Joe Hamilton arrived at Georgia Tech over 10 years as a little regarded scrambling quarterback from South Carolina. By the end of his senior year in 1999, Joe had beaten UGA on two occasions, he had engineered a number of thrilling wins in high profile bowls, and he was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy! Needless to say, the mere mention of Joe Hamilton's name in these parts evokes memories of the glory days of Georgia Tech Football. He received his degree last summer and just two weeks ago, took a job in the GT Athletic Department as an Assistant Director of Player Personnel.
The news about Joe Ham is something that no one who loves Tech Football wants to hear or believe. After some protestations about his innocence, Hamilton has resigned his position with the football program.
Check out the AJC story about the arrest here.
Check out the AJC story about his resignation here.
plez sez: mildly shocking news! i guess that plezWorld has become jaded by the antics of celebrities, no matter how minor they may be. i kept hoping that there would be some mistake or that... well, it's obvious that mr. hamilton is in no position to have parents entrust their teenagers to his care during their most impressionable years. i can't really see him discouraging a young man from not having a drink or taking a toke from a joint.
this was obviously a serious lapse in judgement to be out drinking and getting high, and then trying to drive around the crazy streets of atlanta. i still wish joe the best!
joe is a small guy, standing less than 5'8", with the heart of a giant! i still remember a game when he was knocked out cold after a vicious sack. and then all of the fans in bobby dodd stadium started chanting, "JOE! JOE! JOE! JOE!" exhorting joe to rise from the turf and lead the yellow jackets to victory. he eventually got up to a standing ovation, he came back into the game in the next series and worked his magic and led TECH to another victory at the Flats.
let's hope and pray that joe can get up off the turf one more time... this time, for his own good!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Today, plezWorld is closing a door on a brief chapter in my life.
I wait with optimism for the door that is about to be flung open.
"Would you trade your funk for what's behind the third door?"
- "Funkentelechy" by Parliament
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
When I was growing up in New York, my family would frequently go to my aunt's house in the city for dinner after church on Sunday afternoons. All seven of us (my parents, three brothers, and little sister) would pile into the Cadillac and make our way to Corona in Queens. Once there, we'd laugh and talk and watch the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, which was a stone's throw from their home. My sister and I would gorge ourselves on Frito's and my aunt's world famous French Onion dip. My aunt cooked the best food I've ever tasted and she would make a "Sock It To Me" cake that would make you want to fight your mama! We'd finish off the evening in Queens watching "All in the Family" or "Columbo" before my father drove us back to Westchester.
My aunt is getting up there in age, she is 94 years old, but she can still recognize my voice when I call her. The last couple of years, she's been battling some health problems and gets around with a cane and an oxygen tank. A nurse comes to the house everyday to help her get dressed and fix her meals and run a few errands.
All of my life, my family has always been politically astute, keeping up with current events and voting in all elections. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow South, they couldn't vote, they had to attend sub par schools, they had to work long hours in the fields for very little money in return. My mother talked frequently of how John Kennedy spoke of racial equality. I remember the feeling of loss in the household when Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I remember their feelings of betrayal during the Watergate hearings (and old "Tricky Dick" Nixon, as they would call him). My father used to say he wouldn't vote for a Republican, even it was his own father! And I remember their joy when Jimmy Carter, a country boy from Georgia, was elected president.
Well, I called my mother this past weekend to catch up on things and I happened to inquire about my aunt down in North Carolina. I wondered if my mother drive down there on Tuesday from Virginia to take her to the polls to vote in the Democratic primary. My mother's other sister lives near her in Virginia and my mother had taken her to the polls to vote during the Virginia Democratic Primary.
My mother said, "No, because your aunt has already voted!" She had the nurse take her to the courthouse for early voting a week ago. You see, even at the ripe old age of ninety-four, my Aunt Blannie made a way to make sure her voice was heard... and she voted for Barack Obama!
That's why plezWorld take no excuses from people for not exercising their civic duty to select our elected officials. And thanks to my aunt for her courage, determination, and being an excellent example of how to live life!
Monday, May 05, 2008
New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote about a "Blacklash" in his May 3rd op-ed piece about the Democratic nomination contest. Excerpts from the op-ed piece follows:
The rhetoric appears to be trafficking in old fears and historic stereotypes. The unspoken (and confusing) characterization of Obama is that he’s militant yet cowardly; uppity yet too cool for school.Recent polls by The New York Times and CBS News show that Hillary Clinton's support has eroded with the Black community far more than Barack Obama's support among white Democrats. The graphic below shows Hillary's support with Black Democrats has eroded by over 35 percentage points since last summer and took a real nosedive after the primary season began this year. In contrast, over the same time period, Obama's support among white voters has risen by 5 percentage points.
The question is this: Have white Democrats soured on Obama? Apparently not. Although his unfavorable rating from the group is up five percentage points since last summer in polls conducted by The New York Times and CBS News, his favorable rating is up just as much. While a favorable opinion doesn’t necessarily translate into a vote, this should still give the Clintons (and the superdelegates) pause. Electability cuts both ways.
Many blacks are aghast that their extraordinary support of Bill Clinton in the past would be repaid by the Clintons with racial innuendo (in a Times/CBS News poll after the salacious 1998 Starr report was released, his unfavorable rating among whites climbed to 52 percent; among blacks it was only 10 percent). [Many] who stood by him then now apparently feel betrayed.
Each candidate has a core constituency that is needed for the election in November: Clinton's working class whites and Obama's Blacks and affluent whites. After the nominee is selected in Denver, the Democratic Party is going to have to do a huge PR campaign to bring the other's voters into the fold for the fall election.
Excerpts from The New York Times article on Rev. Wright follows:
A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall should he be the Democratic presidential nominee, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
At the same time, an overwhelming majority of voters said candidates calling for the suspension of the federal gasoline tax this summer were acting to help themselves politically, rather than to help ordinary Americans. Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, has made the suspension of the gas tax a centerpiece of her campaign in recent days.
In the survey, taken in the days leading up to the primaries on Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina, Americans were divided over the merits of the gasoline-tax suspension, which has also been backed by the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, and condemned by Mr. Obama as political gimmickry.
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama spent the final Sunday before the two primaries debating the gas-tax holiday and other issues on morning talk shows and in events across Indiana.
Read the entire New York Times op-ed piece about the graphic here.
Read the entire New York Times article about Rev. Wright's affect on Obama's support here.
plez sez: i'm not a big fan of polls and celebrity endorsements. and even though the poll above doesn't reflect a loss in support, one would have to be deaf and dumb to believe that there was no loss based on Obama's performance in the pennsylvania primary. and if he was such a hot commodity, then he would easily win the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina this week.
i still contend that Obama is the strongest democratic candidate, but i cannot be sure that the Clintonistas don't have another couple of tricks up their sleeve to grab the nomination at the convention.
if Obama is not the democratic candidate against john mccain, then john mccain will be the next president. i'm not saying that Obama is a shoo-in against mccain, but i KNOW billary will never win because more democrats won't be voting for hillary than won't be voting for Obama!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
plez sez: although tempted on a few occasions to hop on the "m train," since i didn't enjoy the hazing i took as an electrical engineering student, i hung in there an got my EE degree from georgia tech!
i thought i'd post this on Saturday, May 3rd, since this is graduation day at georgia tech for the spring semester. one of the brothers in the fraternity that i advise is graduating today with his degree in - you got it - electrical engineering! CONGRATS ERIC!
Friday, May 02, 2008
The Hawks are up 102-100 with 8 seconds left and Bibby's on the line...
HAWKS WIN 103-100 and force a Game 7 in Boston on Sunday!
The Highlight Factory (Philips Arena in Atlanta) is rocking as the Hawks look to extend their improbable season to Game 7 of the playoffs with the Boston Celtics. The Hawks are winning 97-93.
I'm at the NBA Playoffs game with one of my Sands who produced some playoff tix for Game 6 between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics. The Hawks continue to give top seeded Celtics fits at Philips Arena.
The Hawks have erased a ten point Celtic lead to pull within one at the half.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
...and Happy Birthday to my third oldest brother!
I have taken a few days away from blogging this week to attend to a personal matter... but don't dispair, plezWorld has not gone away and will back on a regular rotation soon!